Angela Rayner ‘to be interviewed under police caution in house sale probe’

Labour’s deputy leader has been contacted by Greater Manchester Police to arrange a date for officers to quiz her about the controversy, according to reports

Archie Mitchell
Sunday 12 May 2024 17:35 BST
Tories ‘desperate to talk about my living arrangements’, Angela Rayner says

Angela Rayner is expected to be interviewed under caution as part of a Greater Manchester Police investigation into the sale of her council house in 2015, according to reports.

The Labour deputy leader is said to have been contacted by the force to arrange a date for officers to question her about the controversy.

She will be asked about claims that she breached electoral law, failed to pay capital gains tax, and falsely received single-occupancy council tax discount.

Angela Rayner has said she will quit if she is found to have broken the law (PA Wire)

The Sun on Sunday reported that officers had contacted the office of the Ashton-under-Lyne MP to arrange an interview.

It is thought that she will be invited to attend a police station voluntarily and be interviewed under caution, rather than being arrested.

A source told the newspaper: “There is a lot of information already in the public domain, so there is no need to be heavy-handed.

“The police are more interested in gathering all the information they can, and having Angela come in and speak to them.

“They will then take a view on where the investigation goes from there, once they have assessed the evidence.”

Police investigating Ms Rayner have suggested that there are multiple allegations, which may extend beyond her housing arrangements.

The allegations centre on the sale of her council house in Stockport and whether she broke electoral law by giving false information about her address during the 2010s.

Ms Rayner has promised to resign if she is found to have committed a crime, but has stated that she is confident she has done nothing wrong.

Greater Manchester Police previously said they would not be looking into the allegations, but following a complaint from Tory deputy chair James Daly, police confirmed they had reassessed the information and launched an investigation.

Keir Starmer has said the Tories are ‘chasing a smear’ against his deputy (Reuters)

Labour has said it is confident Ms Rayner has complied with the rules, adding that the Ashton-under-Lyne MP “welcomes the chance to set out the facts with the police”.

Ms Rayner has faced scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 sale of her council house, because of confusion over whether it was her principal residence.

She has rejected suggestions in a book by former Tory deputy chair Michael Ashcroft that she failed to properly declare where she was living.

The unauthorised biography alleges that she bought her former council house, in Vicarage Road in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with a 25 per cent discount in 2007 under the right-to-buy scheme.

The former carer is said to have made a £48,500 profit when selling the house eight years later.

Government guidance says that a tenant can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”.

Her husband was listed at another address, in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away, which had also been bought under the right-to-buy scheme.

In the same year as her wedding, Ms Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided.

James Daly lodged a complaint with Greater Manchester Police (PA Media)

Ms Rayner has insisted that Vicarage Road was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere at the time.

But neighbours have reportedly disputed her claim that she lived apart from her husband.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has previously said the Conservatives are “chasing a smear” in raising questions about the deputy leader, and that people are more interested in “problems caused by this government”.

Ms Rayner previously said she would “welcome the chance to sit down with the appropriate authorities” and that she was “completely confident” that there had been no wrongdoing.

In a statement, she said: “I have always said that integrity and accountability are important in politics. That’s why it’s important that this is urgently looked at, independently and without political interference.

“I make no apologies for having held Conservative ministers to account in the past. Indeed, the public would rightly expect me to do so as a deputy leader of the opposition.

“We have seen the Tory party use this playbook before – reporting political opponents to the police during election campaigns to distract from their record. I will say as I did before – if I committed a criminal offence, I would of course do the right thing and step down.

“The British public deserves politicians who know the rules apply to them. The questions raised relate to a time before I was an MP and I have set out my family’s circumstances and taken expert tax and legal advice. I look forward to setting out the facts with the relevant authorities at the earliest opportunity.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “Angela has been clear that she will cooperate with any investigation. We do not plan to give a running commentary.

“We remain completely confident that Angela has complied with the rules at all times and it's now appropriate to let the police do their work.”

Greater Manchester Police said they do not have any updates on the case.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in